Can we help? with PASTOR & MRS BANDA
DEAR Raphael and Namukolo,
I am a 16-year-old Grade 11 girl. A number of my friends have got boyfriends and I am feeling the pressure to have one, too. But I am wondering whether secondary school is the right time to start dating. Please help.
Let us start by asking you a question. Is it alright for you to start working as a doctor, or nurse or engineer just now? I am sure you will correctly answer, no. Reason? You are not yet qualified for the job. You still need to be trained in order for you to take up those huge responsibilities although those professions might look attractive now.
Marriage is a job, a very big and demanding job. Courtship is the preparation or training for one to take up this huge responsibility and only those who qualify to get married in the near future must venture therein.
In order to qualify for courtship and marriage you must first discover yourself.
Do you know why there are so many marriages and relationships which are breaking down? One major reason is that people go into them before they discover themselves. When you are already tied up with someone is not the time to discover that, that person is not interested in what you want to do or to become in life. In fact, they dislike what you want to do and they cannot help you achieve it. They actually turn out to be an opposition of your dreams, vision and aspirations. Why does this happen? One big reason is that you did not make it clear prior to the relationship what you were and wanted to become. You did not do it perhaps because you did not know yourself and you could, therefore, not communicate this information to the other person. In short you entered into courtship prematurely without first discovering yourself.
You need self-discovery in the following areas:
• Your relationship with God: Are you a Christian? If you will be seeking to marry one who is a Christian, you yourself must first settle this matter of your own personal relationship with God. Do not go into courtship hoping that your partner will be the one to assist you to sort out your relationship with God.
• Career and vocation: Have you chosen and started pursuing your career path? It is not enough just to state what you want to pursue in life, you must lay the foundation and seriously start building your career.
• Skills and talents: In addition to your career profession, you need to acquire skills that will help you supplement your earnings from your profession
• Personal character. A lot of people do not know themselves with respect to their character. Who are you really? What are your weaknesses and what are your strengths? Are you hard working or lazy? Do you easily get annoyed? Do you find it difficult to forgive those who offend you? Are you a stingy person? Discovering your weaknesses will help you to positively address them.
• Relations with members of the opposite sex: Have you developed healthy general relationships with members of the opposite sex? Have you learnt to relate with them on an equal basis, treating them as friends and colleagues with all the respect due to them? Or have you kept them out of your life leading you to be at a loss as to how to relate with them? Remember that courtship is a very close relationship with a member of the opposite sex. Unless you learn how to relate well with the opposite sex while you are growing up, you will find difficulties in relating with your partner in courtship and marriage.
• Relations with peers of the same sex: Do you enjoy healthy relations and friendships with members of the same sex? Are you quarrelsome or do you simply keep yourself aloof from them?
• Relations with those in authority: Life is such that we will always have some kind of authority over our lives. We need to learn to respect such authority. How do you relate to authority? Are you obedient or rebellious?
In short, secondary school period is not the right time for you to enter courtship for the following reasons:
• It is the time for you to discover yourself career wise. You might know what career you want to pursue but there is no guarantee that you will make the required grade.
• You are still immature: Irrespective of your age, secondary school gives you only a narrow view of real life. It is not the best time to make a lifelong decision.
• Propensity to infatuation: You are susceptible to wild but baseless feelings of love.
Ephesians 4:2 – Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.